Biographical Notes

by Michael McGuigan

1840 - 1860

Christiana Carteaux first appears in the 1847 Boston City directory under People of Color. She was working in millinery. Her husband. D.L. Carteaux, worked as a cigar maker. Christiana married D.L. Carteaux on April 3, 1840. They both lived at 110 Cambridge Street. Christiana appeared in the 1848 Boston City directory under People of Color. She was selling millinery goods at 110 Cambridge Street. Edward first appears in the 1850 Boston federal census with his brother William. They were both working as hairdressers and living with John D. Revaleon and Harriet Revaleon who were also hairdressers. John Revaleon appeared in the 1850 Boston tax records as living on Kennard Avenue in the West End close to Mass General. The property was owned by Fanny Brown. Christiana, aged 32, appeared in the Providence 1850 census. She was living with John and Elizabeth Smith. Elizabeth Smith, nee Brown was the first black principal of the Meeting Street Primary School for colored children. Her father was a formerly enslaved mariner named Cupid Brown. He was born in South Kingstown, close to where Christiana's family lived. John was a servant in the Carrington family household. They were married by the Rev. Dr. Francis Wayland, the president of Brown University and later parson of the First Baptist Church. 


In 1851, Christiana was back in Boston. She was listed as a milliner in the 1851 Boston City Directory as 3 Temple Street. Edward's brother, William Bannister appears in the 1852 Boston City directory working as a hairdresser and boarding at 49 Poplar. An article in the Daily Atlas on May 11, 1852 reported that a barber shop in Malden, MA owned by Edward Bannister had been broken into. By 1853, Edward and Christiana were both working together as hair dressers. They are both listed in the 1853 Boston City Directory working out of the rear of 191 Washington Street. On October 9, 1854 Christiana Carteaux placed a notice in the Boston Courier stating her intent to dissolve her marriage with Desselline L. Carteaux. 


Edward received his first commission in 1854 by Dr. John V. DeGrasse, “The Ship Outward Bound.” In an article in the August 11, 1854 issue of The Liberator titled “Colored Genius,” William Cooper Nell described a visit to Dr.  DeGrasse’s study where he saw the painting.  He describes "The Ship Outward Bound" as having a fidelity in design, coloring and shade. Nell also noted that Bannister was becoming known for his crayon portraits. In the 19th and early 20th centuries large photographic portraits were expensive and only available to the wealthy patrons. In 1857, D.A. Woodward invented The Woodward Solar Enlarging Camera which generated a weak but large image on canvas. The artist then drew over the picture with charcoal or pastels, trying to duplicate the photograph while making it look hand drawn. 


Christiana Carteaux appeared in the 1855 Boston City Census. She was living with her sister Cecilia. Both were described mulatto and were working as hairdressers. Edward is listed in the 1855 Boston, Ward 6, Census. He was working as a barber and living in the home, boarding house, of Fanny Brown, a 42 year old mulatto. In 1857, Edward was working as an ambrotypist. An ambrotype is an early form of a photograph in which the picture is created by placing a glass negative against a dark background.  An advertisement by the Histrionic Club announced that the club would be performing “Love at Sight” on April 7, 1857. Madame Carteaux appeared in the show representing Hope. On May 21, 1857, an E. M. Bannister placed an ad in the Boston Herald putting his barber shop in Marlborough, MA up for sale. That is the same year The Liberator, on June 19, 1857, announced that the Rev. Charles Mason had married Christiana Carteaux and Edward M. Bannister on June 10 of that year.

In the 1858 Boston City Directory, Edward was working as an artist at 170 Cambridge Street, owned by Joshua Bennett. Edward and Christiana also appeared in play “The Indian's Visit” produced by the Histrionic Club. Rehearsals for Histrionic Club performances were often held at Christiana’s parlors. The March 5 edition of The Liberator reported on a commemorative meeting in Faneuil Hall celebrating Crispus Attucks. He was a black and indigenous man generally accepted as the first person killed by the British in the Boston Massacre in 1770. The celebration included the Attucks Glee Club, organized by William Cooper Nell, singing "Colored American Heroes of 1776." Edward Bannister, George L. Ruffin, and William H. Simpson were members. 

Edward appeared in the 1859 Boston tax records working as a painter at 55 Southac (now Phillips Street). The property was owned by M.E. Bean. Edward appeared in the 1859 Boston Directory as a portrait painter at 333 Washington Street. The May 25 issue of the Boston Traveler, says that, at a meeting held by the colored citizens of Boston at Twelfth Street Baptist Church, Edward was appointed Secretary to a group organized to raise money to help the people involved in the Oberlin rescue. Twelfth Street Baptist Church was  also known as the fugitive slave church because it provided aid to scores of escaped enslaved persons. Edward was also selected as Secretary for the New England Colored Citizens Convention and served as a delegate. On August 19, 1859, The Liberator reported that Edward had been appointed to a Committee on Roll at the New England Colored Citizens’ Convention held at the Meionaon in Boston. The purpose of the convention was to consider “the best means of promoting their moral, social, and political elevation.” The Meionaon was a meeting hall on Tremont Street in Boston.

1860 - 1870

Edward appeared in the 1860 U.S. Census for Boston working as an artist. In 1861, Edward was listed in the Boston City Directory as a portrait painter at 31 Winter Street. That was also where Edward and Christiana lived. On January 20, 1860 The Liberator reported that a meeting would be held in the Meionaon on January 24 to promote the erection of a monument to the memory of the heroes of Harper’s Ferry. Tickets costing $.25 were available from Madame Christiana Bannister. In February, 1861, Madame Carteaux donated $1.00 to the 27th National anti-Slavery Anniversary. On February 25, 26, and 27 of 1861 the “Ladies of the Twelfth Baptist Society” held a fair where “children’s clothing and other useful and fancy articles” were for sale. Tickets were available at Madame Carteaux Bannister’s 31 Winter Street business.  In October of 1860, Edward signed a public petition welcoming the Prince of Wales to America. The prince stayed in Boston between October 17 and October 20. 

Edward and Christiana appear in the 1860 Federal Census for Boston. Edward was listed as an artist. No profession was indicated for Christiana. Both were described as mulatto. Madame Bannister appeared in the 1860 Boston City Directory working as a hairdresser at 3 Armory Hall and Edward appeared in the 1861 Boston City Directory as a portrait painter at 31 Winter Street. On February 21, 1861, the Boston Recorder printed an ad for the Twelfth Street Society Fair. Christiana was selling tickets for 25 cents. Sometime in 1861, the Bannisters moved to 28 Grove Street. The home was owned by the Rev. Leonard A. Grimes. He was the pastor at Twelfth Street Church. Her salon and his studio were now at 31 Winter Street. That same year Edward was listed in the Boston City Directory as a portrait painter at 31 Winter Street. According to Boston tax records, the property was owned by Mary Flagg. Edward was listed as a photographist. Edward appears in the 1862 Boston City Directory as an artist at 31 Winter Street. An article in the Boston Evening Transcript on September 26,  1862, reported on a meeting of the Association for the Relief of Destitute Contrabands that was held to organize a response by the colored churches of the destitute in Washington. Contrabands were enslaved persons who escaped to Union lines during the Civil War. Edward was selected as the Secretary. 

The 1863 Boston City Directory listed Edward as photographist working at 210 Washington Street. In January of 1863, a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation was held under the auspices of the Union Progressive Association at the Tremont Temple. The Boston Evening Transcript reports that Edward was selected as one of the Secretaries. The Union Progressive Association was a group founded by African Americans in Boston. William Cooper Nell was President. The group was committed to fighting for civil rights and improving the social and economic conditions of black communities in Boston and beyond. In the March 28, 1863 issue of the Anglo-African, G.E. Stephens, responding to a negative review of William Wells Brown book “The Black Man” argued that the genius of new characters like Edward Bannister would not be known had it not been for Brown's book. The May 12, 1863 issue of the Boston Evening Transcript published the following ad: “54th Regiment. The undersigned, officers of the Colored Soldiers Relief Society, take this method of reaching the public and soliciting donations in aid of their object, the relief of disabled colored soldiers and their families.” Madam Carteaux Bannister is listed as the President of the society. An advertisement in the October 8, 1863 issue of the Boston Evening Transcript announced that “the colored MARIO has kindly consented to sing” at a concert and reading given for the benefit of Twelfth Baptist Church. Tickets could be purchased from Madame Bannister. Thomas J. Bowers (c. 1823–October 3, 1885), also known as "The Colored Mario" was an American concert artist. He studied voice with African-American concert artist Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield and toured with her troupe for a few years before starting his own successful solo career. He was the brother of professional singer Sarah Sedgwick Bowers, known as "the Colored Nightingale." 

According to the January 2, 1864 issue of the Boston Morning Journal, a meeting was held at Tremont Temple to celebrate the first anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. During the meeting an organization was formed and Edward was appointed a Secretary. In 1864, The Rev. Robert Johnson commissioned Edward to paint a memorial portrait of Prudence Nelson Bell. Robert Johnson was a former slave, born around 1836 in Westmoreland County, Virginia. Robert Johnson joined the Fourth Baptist church in 1864 as a private member. He served in the United States Colored Infantry (43rd Regiment, Company D) and held the rank of an Army Corporal at the time of his being discharged out of military service. Prudence Bell had moved from Washington, D.C., in 1841 to Weymouth, the hometown of the abolitionist Weston sisters, and was an active fugitive slave assistant there. She ultimately moved into the West End of Boston, where she died in 1864.

That same year Edward and Francis Bicknell Carpenter met. Carpenter saw Edward's "Jesus Led to Caiaphas" and urged him to focus on painting. Carpenter was an American painter born in Homer, New York. He is best known for his painting “First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President Lincoln,” which is hanging in the United States Capitol. An article in the May 14, 1864 issue of the Anglo-America announced that at a meeting at the Joy Street Church, a committee of 13 had been formed to “consider the propriety of calling a convention of colored people of the United States” to discuss the condition of colored people in the country. Edward Bannister was selected as one of the 13. A lengthy article in the August 13, 1864 issue of the Anglo-African quotes Mrs. Carteaux Bannister, in response to the way colored soldiers were being treated by the government, as saying, "she would rather beg from door to door than that her husband should go to the war." The article also states that she had several brothers serving in the war. In a notice published by the Boston Evening Transcript on October 13, 1864, The Colored Ladies Sanitary Commission of Boston announced its plan to hold a fair in Mercantile Hall for the benefit of colored soldiers and their families. The notice reads in part, “These men having fought bravely to sustain our noble flag and the country’s freedom, we feel it our duty to do all we can to encourage them.” Christiana Bannister is listed as President. Edward donated his portrait of Col. Shaw, valued at over $200 to be sold at a raffle. On November 18, 1864, Edward placed an ad in The Liberator as a portrait painter in room 85, Studio Building, Tremont Street, Boston. William Morris Hunt, a friend of Jean-Francois Millet, leader of the French Barbizon school, also rented studio space at the Studio Building.  

According to 1865 Boston tax records, Edward was still living at 31 Winter Street but was now working as an artist. The property was owned by Mary Flagg. On June 17, 1865, the Boston Traveler reported on the Temperance Celebration in Boston and the “Procession of the Cold Water Army.” The celebration took place on the Parade Ground of the Common. Included in the procession was the “Twelfth Baptist Sunday School, Boston (colored)” led by Edward M. Bannister, Marshall. Their motto was “Equal Rights for all men.” A letter from William Lloyd Garrison to his wife Eliza Garrison on June 30, 1865 promises to send her some of “Madame Carteaux’s hair oil” and also says that Madame Carteaux would be gratified if she sold some of the bottles. Nelson Primus wrote a letter to his mother in July of 1865, where he mentions Edward Bannister. In the letter he said, “Mr. Bannister I think is a little jealous of me he says that I have got great taste in art, but does not try very hard to give me any work. The colored people I think he could get me if he was a mind to… Mr. Bannister has got in with the white people here and they think a good deal of him, he is afraid that I would be liked as much as himself.” 

In April of 1866, Edward was part of a picture sale at the Leonard and Co. Gallery. His painting “Harvest Time” sold for $25.00. Also in 1866, Edward, along with DeGrasse and others, signed a petition to the State House of Representatives requesting that the Boston Theater, Continental Theater, and the Howard Athenaeum stop excluding and discriminating against people on account of their color.  The petition reads: 

“The undersigned, colored citizens of this Commonwealth respectfully represent that by the statutes of this Commonwealth, all theaters and places of public amusement are required, before opening their doors for exhibitions, to procure licenses from the proper authorities therefore <sic>, and your petitioners do not believe that it was ever intended by the Commonwealth to license, and thereby legalize places of this kind, from which people are excluded or discriminated against, on account of their color.

Your  petitioners are informed that the Boston Theatre, Continental Theatre, Howard Athenaeum, particularly, in the city of Boston, are daily excluding proper persons from their exhibitions, and invidiously discriminating against them solely on account of their color.

Wherefore your petitioners ask that the statute may be so amended as to provide that any theatre or place of public amusement that shall, without reasonable cause, exclude colored persons, or discriminate against them, shall thereby forfeit its license, and become liable to all penalties provided by law for exhibiting without a license. "

Between 1866 and 1868, Edward was listed in the Boston tax records as living at 50 Northfield Street and working as an artist. Christiana, his wife, is listed as the owner of the property. Edward owed $2.00 in taxes and Christiana owed $46.50 in taxes. The property was valued at $3,000. Edward exhibited a landscape at the 1866 First Reception of the Boston Art Club at Horticultural Hall.  The Boston Evening Transcript, on March 5, 1866, stated, “We lately visited the studio of the young colored artist, Bannister, who was busy upon a landscape, which displays great talent for one who has had so little practice. His room is in the Studio Building, and all lovers of art should visit him.” Edward was listed in the 1867 Boston City Directory as a portrait painter at 85 Studio Building. The Studio Building on Tremont Street in Boston, housed artists' studios, theater companies and other businesses in the 19th century. According to the February 1907 issue of the New England Magazine, it "held the true Bohemia of Boston, where artists and literati delighted to gather." Among the tenants were portraitist E.T. Billings, architect George Snell, sculptor Martin Milmore, artists William Morris Hunt, William Rimmer, Edward Mitchell Bannister, Phoebe Jenks; gallerist Seth Morton Vose, and many others.  On April 22, 1866, The Boston Evening Transcript reported that Leonard & Co. sold by auction at Williams & Everett’s “quite a collection of choice pictures.” Bannister’s landscape, Harvest Time (large) sold for $25.00.

Multiple biographies on Bannister refer to an article in the New York Herald in 1867, that is claimed to have said  “the negro seems to have an appreciation of art while being manifestly unable to produce it.” The first appearance of this quote seems to be in W. J. Simmon’s book, “Men of Mark: Eminent, Progressive, and Rising”, published in 1887. The book does not list an author or any date for the article beyond 1867. An extensive search for this article has returned no evidence of its existence. The authors Bearden and Hendersen in their book, “A History of African-American Artists from 1792 to the Present”, state that, “We have been unable to confirm the report that Bannister became an artist because he was challenged by an 1867 statement in the New York Herald…” On February 26, 1867, the Boston Evening Transcript published the Catalogue of Artists’ contributions to the Wheelock Fund on exhibition at Williams & Everett. Edwards painting “The Wood Gatherers” is listed as #28.

Edward was listed in the 1868 Boston City Directory as a partner with Asa R. Lewis (Bannister & Lewis) at 228 Washington Street. They were both listed as artists. The partnership lasted about one year. Some sources say that they sold art supplies, paintings, and provided framing services. Christiana was listed as a hairdresser at 43 Winter Street, Room 4. The Evening Post, on December 18, 1868, reports that “Mr. Edward M. Bannister, a colored artist (we have only one in Boston) is painting a landscape - mostly a study of elm trees - which he calls "September Afternoon.” Edward was listed in the 1869 Boston City Directory working as a portrait and landscape painter at 228 Washington Street. 

1870 - 1880

Sometime in 1870 Edward and Christiana moved to Providence, Rhode Island. The 1870 Providence City Directory lists Edward as a portrait painter working at 14 Westminster Street in Providence. Their first house, which was owned by Michael McElmeel, was at 7 America Street. According to the December 7, 1870 Providence Evening Press, Edward contributed to the Union Bazar in Howard Hall his painting “Summer Afternoon” which he valued at $50.00. The 1871 Providence City Directory lists Edward as a portrait painter still at 14 Westminster Street in Providence.  In 1871, Christiana (Edward is not mentioned in the transaction) purchased property from Ellen M. Delanah on Swan Street (previously Friend Street). According to the 1872 Providence City Directory, Edward had moved his studio to 12 South Main Street. He and Christiana were now living at 37 Swan Street. In 1872, at the Horticultural, Floral, Art Exhibition at Howard Hall, Edward won a diploma for his painting “Summer Afternoon.” In the 1873 Providence City Directory Edward was still in his studio at 12 South Main Street. He and Christiana were still living at 37 Swan Street. On January 31, 1873, the Boston Traveler, in describing one of Bannister’s landscapes says, “This landscape was laid in with a masterly hand; and had he left it with the decision of absolute knowledge, it would be a complete combination of the highest qualities of French and American schools. But that spotting of the trees - those noble trees, so full and graceful in their composition, so free in drawing, and in the first laying in of color, so suggestive of nature - too truly does this spottiness indicate a lack of close study of foliage, to equal to the genuine manifested by the management and handling of the other parts of the landscape.” The Providence Morning Star, on May 8, 1873, announced that Edward had completed “an altar painting for the Catholic church on Hope Street, of the Immaculate Conception. The work is highly commended by those who have examined it.” 

In the 1874 and 1875 Providence City Directories Edward's studio was at 2 College and he was painting portraits. He and Christiana were living at 67 Cushing Street which was owned by Ransom Parker. According to an ad placed in the Providence Evening Press on March 11, 1875, the artists in Wood’s Building were holding a reception with open studios including E. M. Bannister.  The March 11, 1875 Providence Evening Press, also reported that Edward, along with other artists including J.S. Lincoln, C.H. Hemmingway, Harry Hillyard, R.E. Hallworth, E.O. Paine, and J.N. Arnold held an artist's reception at the Wood's Building. The Massachusetts Ploughman and New England Journal of Agriculture reports that on October 30, 1875 Edward had won $10.00 for the best landscape painting at the Rhode Island State Fair. 


The Providence Morning Star published a detailed description of Under the Oaks on March 21, 1876 as follows, “The picture is six and a half by four feet, and enclosed in a rich and heavy gilt frame 8x51/2 feet. It represents a grove of oaks with a flock of sheep in the foreground, and the shepherd resting under the trees. Beyond the oaks are one or two quiet lakes, and in the extreme distance, looking across the plains, is a range of hills. Though simple in subject, the work is broad and comprehensive in treatment. It has such strength, repose and realism that there is a sort of magnetic influence which seems to make one a part of the scene itself instead of a mere spectator,” On April 4, 1876, the Boston Evening Transcript wrote an article about the paintings to be exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia which were on display at Boylston Street. The article says this about Edward’s "Under the Oaks," “One of the most notable landscapes in the collection hangs on the left wall of the larger gallery in the art club building. In the catalogue it appears as #25, “Under the Oaks,” and was painted by E. M. Bannister of Providence. The grouping of the trees in the foreground is admirable, while the effects of light and shade are such as none but a thorough student and lover of nature could have managed. The sky and distance are especially good.” The committee charged with selecting works of art to be shown at the Centennial Exhibition included: Daniel Huntington, JervisMcEntee, Thomas Hicks, J. Q. A, Ward, Henry K. Brown, Samuel B. Waugh, W. H. Wilcox, Howard Roberts, Thomas Robinson and Richard M. Staigg. 

The Official Catalogue, Part II, Art Gallery, Annex and Outdoor Works of Art of the 1876 Centennial International Exhibition lists Bannister's painting “Under the Oaks” on page 42, number 935. Bannister’s name is also listed. The painting was listed for sale by Bannister. Some scholars say that the painting had already been sold. According to George W. Whitaker, the painting was sold to a Mr. Duff of Boston for $1,500.  He won a bronze medal (first place) at the fair and gained national attention as an artist. Many biographies recount stories about the jury retracting their award because Bannister was Black. However, Barnaby Evans argues that we can also “rule out the more extreme version of Edward Mithchell Bannister encountering racism at the Centennial where we hear the jury retracted their award.  The jury (who were mostly from Europe) had long since returned home months earlier. The jury was very formal and (“by the book”) in its proceedings; and the judging process took four months. There are copious notes and an appeal process in place (that could only add new awards, not rescind them, and they did add 44 more arts awards).  There were two awards retracted, but only because two artists had each won two awards each in different categories for the same art piece; they both retained only their solitary awards.” One member of the jury, Evans notes, was the Dutch painter Jacob Eduard van Heemskerck van Beest who officially attested for Bannister’s medal.  The full list of judges was published by the Boston Globe on September 29, 1876 and include: from American - Frank Hill Smith, Boston; James L. Claghorn, President, Philadelphia; Professor J. F. Weir, New Haven, Conn; George Ward Nichols, Secretary, Cincinnati; Professor Henry Draper, New York, Foreign - Charles West Cope, R.A., Great Britain; Peter Graham, Great Britain; Cari Emile Saintiu, France; Fritz L. Von Dardel, Sweden; P.N. Arbo, Norway; Count of Denadio, Spain; A. Tantardini, Ital; Guglielmo de Sanctis, Italy; Carl Costenoble, Austria; Professor J.V. Dablerup, Denmark; and Thr. F.E. Van Heemskerck ban Beest, Netherlands. 

The Centennial Exposition, the first world's fair in the United States and constructed in Philadelphia, showcased the U.S.'s industrial and cultural achievements on the 100th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The Exposition attracted almost 10 million visitors in the six months of its operation.  

Edward was listed in the 1876 Providence City Directory as an artist on the 5th floor of the Butler Exchange. His house was at 67 Cushing. Madame Carteaux, hairdresser, is listed on page 172 of the Boston City Directory at 43 Winter Street. The Boston Morning Journal on November 23, 1876, printed a list of paintings that were sold at an art sale by Noyes & Blakeslee which included “Near Vue de L’eau, R.I.” by Edward Bannister which sold for $20. A committee from the Providence Literary Association donated $40 to the Providence Shelter for Colored Children. Christiana Bannister was listed as a member of that committee.

At the Boston Art Club Exposition on May 2, 1877,  Bannister’s "Mount Tug, Kellyville, NH" oil was listed for sale and an art sale in November of 1877 by Noyes & Blakeslee Gallery included works by Edward Bannister. Edward was listed in the 1878 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. His house was at 67 Cushing. At the Boston Art Club Exposition on April 17, 1878,  Bannister’s oil "On the Pawtuxet River '' was listed for sale. The Thirteenth Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Exhibition in 1878 included landscapes by Bannister one of which won a bronze medal. The September 22, 1878 Chicago Tribune declared that Bannister’s painting “Across the Marsh” has Mr. Bannister’s fine, delicate touches, but is marred by a touch of Corot whose faults and not his virtues are misleading so many young artists.”

Edward was listed in the 1879 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. His house was at 67 Cushing. The Boston Art Club show on January 15, 1879, included Bannister’s "Among the Pines" oil. The Boston Evening Herald on January 27 describes one of Bannister’s paintings at a show at Elliot’s as having “that pictorial boldness of composition and richness of materials for which his canvases are distinguished.” In May, Williams and Everett’s Gallery hosted a large show that included paintings by Edward. 

1880 - 1890

Edward and Christiana were listed in the 1880 Providence Federal Census. His race was listed as mulatto and hers as Indian. He was working as an artist and Christiana was working as a hair doctress. Edward was listed in the 1880 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. His house was at 67 Cushing. Madame Carteaux was listed on page 181 in the Boston City Directory as a hairdresser at 43 Winter Street, room 4. In 1880, The Providence Art Club was formed and, according to the March 22, 1880 Evening Bulletin, Edward was elected as a member of the Executive Committee. The May 14, 1880 edition of the Evening Bulletin declares that Bannister is “well represented” at the Art Club exhibition by his “Pasture,” “Oaks,” “The Drover,” and “Winter Day.” The article goes on to say “Mr. Bannister is not very far behind some celebrated frenchmen, and indeed he resembles them in many respects, although never descending to imitation or affection.” In April, 1880 the Hastings and Davenport exposition included two of Bannister’s paintings. One was a landscape with cattle, the other was titled “The Winter Piece” which was also shown at the Charlestown Art Club. The ad in the Boston Evening Transcript on April 2, 1880 also referred to a recently completed large painting by Bannister titled “Evening” which the author called a poem in paint. 

The First Exhibition of the Providence Art Club was on May 11, 1880 and included Bannister’s "Winter Day," "Return of the Herd," "After the Masquerade" (not for sale), "A Pasture," "Sheep" (not for sale), "Oaks" (not for sale), "Bowers Cove" (not for sale). Watercolors and Crayons: "Study From Life" (not for sale). One of Bannister’s paintings was shown at the October, 1880  Mechanic’s Fair. The Providence Art Club December 2, 1880 exposition included Bannister’s "Winter Twilight," "November Day," "Evening" (for sale), "Angler." Under the category Water Colors: "Morning Charcoal Study" (for sale), "Sketch at Canton, Mass., '" "Cloudy Day in Chalks," "The Wagoner", and "Color Study." 

On January 22, 1881, Edward and Christiana sold to Pascoag Savings Bank a lot and buildings on Swan Street for $1.00. The Boston Art Club, January 29, 1881 show included Bannister’s "At Smith's Place, Narragansett Bay" oil for sale. At the Fourteenth Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanic Association in Boston in 1881, Edward won a silver medal for his painting “The Hillside Pasture.” The Providence Art Club's November 15, 1881 show included Bannister’s “After A Shower," "An Approaching Shower," "Landscape," and "Evening." Under the category of Water Colors Bannister’s “Sketch" was displayed.

Edward was listed in the 1882 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. His house was at 67 Cushing. On January 22, 1882 the Boston Globe on page 10 announced that "Mr. E.M. Bannister, the colored artist of Providence, whose paintings at the Mechanics Fair and in the gallery of Williams and Everett have attracted a good deal of attention, will soon go to Europe." There is no evidence that Edward made the trip. The Twenty-Third Exhibition of The Boston Art Club had on exhibition Bannister’s oil "Evening" for sale for $100 and the 3d Annual Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on April 17, 1882 included two landscapes by Bannister and "A Study," "On the Plains," and "A Providence Dock." In December of that year the Providence Art Club held a Catalogue of Pictures to benefit Robert E. Hallworth's Children. Robert E. Hallworth was one of the sixteen founding members of the Providence Art Club. Two years after the Club founding, Hallworth met with a fatal accident. Forty-three paintings were donated by fellow artists and friends including Bannister’s "Autumn" owned by I. C. Bates; "Landscape" owned by I. C. Bates; "A Marsh"owned by I. C. Bates; "In the Woods"owned by I. C. Bates;  and two landscapes which list Bannister as artist and owner. The Providence Morning Star on December 23, 1882 wrote that the bidding on the art was low as was the attendance. Autumn sold for $15, Landscape sold for $18, A Marsh sold for $11, In the Woods sold for $10, and another Landscape sold for $17.  Also in 1882, Williams and Everett’s Gallery showed two of Bannister’s paintings. One was “lately exhibited at the Mechanic’s Fair” and the other a small autumnal landscape. The New York Herald, on December 18, 1882 describes a charcoal titled “Mountain Stream” which was entered into the Black and White Exhibition of the National Academy of Design as a “good charcoal.” 

Edward was listed in the 1883 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. Williams and Everett’s Gallery sold Bannister’s “An October Day” for $42.50. The Fourth Annual Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on March 14, 1883 included Bannister’s “Fisherman Becalmed,” “Narragansett Bay," and "Across Country" for sale for $500. A Boston Art Club Exposition that year included Bannister’s "Hillside" watercolor for sale for $75 and an artists' exhibition in Hartford, Connecticut included Bannister’s "Return of the Fishers at Sunset." The Wheeling Register on July 3, 1883 notes that “E.M. Bannister, the Providence artist, whose work is very highly commended, is a negro.” The Autumn Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on October 10, 1883 included Bannister’s "Sheep Pasture at the Dumplings, Jamestown, R. I." listed for sale; and "Newport, from above the Swamp, Jamestown, R. I." also for sale. The Watercolor Exhibition by the Providence Art Club on December 6, 1883 included Bannister’s "Summer" for sale for $25. The Providence Evening Press on February 21, 1883 refers to Edward as being a member of the Brush and Pallette Club of New York and describes a painting by Edward, "A Rugged Path," as a “beautiful little view of our lovely Pawtuxet River” on exhibit by the club at Waterman's Gallery. 

Edward was listed in the 1884 Providence City Directory as a portrait and landscape painter at 2 College Street, Room 50. His house was at 93 Benevolent Street, owned by Charles Paine. Christiana is listed as a hair doctress at 243 Westminster. The Fifth Annual Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on March 12, 1884 included Bannister’s "Landscape," and "The Shepherd" on sale for $150. The 15th Exhibition of the Massachusetts Charitable Mechanics Association at the Association Building on Huntington Avenue included Bannister’s "A New England Hillside" on sale for $800. An advertisement in the October 25, 1884 Boston Evening Transcript listed Madame Carteaux’s nieces, Misses Babcock’s champooing parlor at 23 Harwich Street in Boston. The Autumn Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on November 5, 1884 included Bannister’s "The Ferry Landing, Jamestown, R.I." for sale for $50; "Mountain Laurel" for $200 and "At the Brook" for $150.

In 1885, Noyes and Blakeslee advertised a large exhibition that included Bannister’s painting “Quiet Nook” and Williams and Everett’s Gallery sold Bannister’s “A View of the Connecticut at Westmoreland, N. H.” for $117.50. In January of 1885, Edward placed an ad in the Providence Journal inviting the public to his studio at an exhibition and sale of his latest pictures and studies. Edward was listed in the 1885 Providence City Directory as an artist at 19 College Street, Room 50. Christiana was listed as a hair doctress at 243 Westminster. Edward was listed in the 1885 Providence City Census. His race was listed as mulatto and he was working as an artist. According to this census he and his parents were born in the West Indies. Later that year Noyes and Blakeslee advertised Edward Bannister’s painting “Quiet Nook” for sale as part of a larger offering of miscellaneous works by various artists. A sale at William’s and Everett’s listed the painting by Edward Bannister “Driving Home the Cows” as being sold for $155.

An 1885 connection between Bannister and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) was uncovered through research by RISD archivist Andrew Martinez and artist Barnaby Evans.  In April RISD held its first non-student art exhibition titled "First Exhibition: Pictures by American Artists" at Hoppin Homestead on Westminster Street, downtown, where they rented space for RISD.  It included 122 drawings and paintings, including one painting by Bannister. What is not listed in the catalog of the show, was the jury that selected the paintings for the first exhibition at RISD. This was contained only in the letter of invitation to submit work for consideration for the show.  The letter reveals that the jury ("Committee") was composed of: For New York: Bolton Jones, For Boston: Robert W. Vonnoh, For Providence: E. M. Bannister, Sidney S. Burleigh, and  G. W. Whitaker.

An article in a September issue of the Providence Journal described how Edward returned to his studio in the Woods Building with a large collection of sketches from the summer. The article also mentioned that he had several commissions from Noyes and Blakeslee.  That same year Edward displayed "A New England Pasture" at the Cotton Centennial in New Orleans. However, according to the February 21, 1885 issue of the Washington Bee, Edward’s painting, along with Edmonia Lewis’ “Wooing of Hiawatha” and Henry Ossawa Tanner’s  “The Battle of Life” were displayed in the Colored People’s Department in the Colored People’s Department rather than the Fine Arts Gallery.The Spring Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on April 14 included Bannister’s "At Sabin's Point" for $500, and "Sunset" also for sale. The Autumn Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on November 11 included a Bannister "Landscape" for sale; "Bridgeport Landing" for sale; and "Moonlight off Bailey’s Beach, Newport, R. I." also for sale. An auction by F. A. Waterman of surplus stock was held that year including Bannister’s painting “Off Sabin’s Point.”

Edward was listed in the 1885 Providence City Directory as an artist at 19 College Street, Room 50. An exhibition at the Boston Art Club between January 15 and February 13, 1886  included Bannister’s "Summer" oil for sale for $150. The Spring Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on April 21 included Bannister’s "Marsh Haying," and "The Grain Field." Noyes and Blakeslee advertised an auction of paintings that included work by Edward Bannister. In April of 1886 Edward gave a lecture entitled "The Artist and His Critics" at the Ann-Eliza Club. The Ann Eliza Club was founded in 1885. Membership was exclusively male, and consisted mostly of artists, art critics and art collectors. It was initially a very informal group of friends, with but one unofficial rule: "everyone who comes into this room either as a member or as a guest is required to do just as he pleases." Meetings generally centered around the reading of papers, mostly connected at least loosely to artistic themes. Members also shared their art work, and many pieces were displayed in the club room.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, on February 4, 1886, on page 3 announced that the opening of the prize picture collection at the LIHOU Gallery included a picture by Edward who sent "a fairly rendered cattle piece." An article in the June 13, 1886 edition of the Providence Journal complained that Edward “has been so much occupied in getting his yacht ready for the summer that he has done very little painting - except that upon the outside of his boat.” On September 16, 1886 Charles Stetson wrote in his journal, “Mr. Smythe recounts how NY artists speak "very savagely and somewhat contemptuously of Bannister, Whitaker, and myself." The Autumn Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on November 17, 1886  included Bannister’s "A Southeaster on the Coast." In November Edward and Mr. Barlow gave to the Greenwich Street Free Baptist Church two oil paintings. They were on exhibition at Stillman’s Art Gallery who were accepting offers to purchase them.

On January 4, 1887, Charles Stetson wrote in his journal that Edward showed him two scriptural pieces he sketched on canvas: “Christ inviting umanity and Jesus and the daughter of Jairius and wife. In February Edward was chosen to serve on the nominating committee for the Rhode Island Yacht Club. Madame Christiana Carteaux was listed in the 1887 Providence City Directory under the Patent Medicines section making hair restoratives at 292 Westminster Street. Edward was listed as an artist at 19 College, room 50.

In April Bannister held an exhibition at Leith & Danforths Art Parlors that displayed a small collection of his latest pictures. A review in the Providence Journal says of the show, “nor can it be said that it represents as well as might be wished the strongest side of Mr. Bannister’s art.” Some of the works included in the show are An Early Morning, A Coming Storm, Hauling Sea Grass, and Spring Morning. In June the Rhode Island Yacht Club held a celebration at the club and a race. Edward’s yacht, the Fanchon, was entered under sloops. Fanchon is a French term that means free, freedom, or free one. In December the Pilgrim Congregational Church on Harrison Street hosted the Festival of the Year. Edward had several of his works hanging in the Art Room. The names are not listed. On April 17, 1887 the Providence Journal on page 8 offered a fine description of some of the studios occupied by artists in Providence, including Edward's. 

In January, 1888 Edward represented the Providence Art Club at the obsequies of James S. Lincoln. James Sullivan Lincoln (May 13, 1811 – January 18, 1888) was an American portrait painter based in Providence, Rhode Island. That same year the Roman Catholic Church in Providence purchased four of Bannister’s scriptural paintings. An exhibition of paintings at Stillman’s Art Gallery at 267 Westminster Street in April included Bannister’s The Coming Shower, Grove at Smith’s Palace, Evening, Oaks, Crossing the Bridge, and three works titled Study. An article in the September 9, 1888 Boston Daily Globe described Bannister’s painting “Morning in the Stone Quarries” as showing great improvement in his work over the year and on October 28, 1888, the  Boston Globe wrote that Bannister sold a very large, 6 feet by 4 feet, pasture scene which won a medal at the last Mechanic’s Fair to the owner of the Everett House in New York. Also in 1888, Blow, High Blow was commissioned by Judge Carpenter and Edward submitted ten works to a show of 125 works at the Leonard & Co. Gallery in Boston.

Edward was listed in the 1889 Providence City Directory as an artist at 19 College Street, Room 50. Artist John Arnold was in room 49 and artist Helen F. Andrews was in room 51 and Mary Blodgett in room 46. Curiously, Mrs. E. M. Bannister was listed in the 1889 Boston City Directory under Drawing and Painting at 180 Columbus Avenue. The 1889 Spring Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on April 26 included Bannister’s "On the Palmer River, Rehoboth, Mass.," for sale for $100; and "The Coming Storm" also for sale for $200. Christiana played an important role in raising funds that year for the Home for Aged Colored Women which opened in April. The Manufacturers and Farmers Journal, on February 20, 1890 printed an add by Messrs. Tilden, Thurber & Co. announcing an Exhibition at their gallery. Included was number 120, "On the Bay," by E. M. Bannister.

1890 - 1901

An 1891 exhibition by the Providence Art Club on November 4 included Bannister’s "Sabin's Point," "Potter's Cove," "Shore and Figure" "Coal Dock, East Providence." "At Narragansett Pier," " Oaks and Cattle," loaned by Gorge W. Whitaker, Esq., "Surf at Coggeshall Ledge, Newport," loaned by Robert P. Brown, Esq., "The Newsboy," loaned by Henry C. Sherman, Esq., "Road near the Friend's School," "Tow-Boat in a Storm," "Wild-Flowers and Leaves," "After the Masquerade," "The Woodman," "Early Morning," "Charlestown Navy-Yard," "Cloudy Afternoon," "Providence Harbor," "Homeward-Cattle," "Evening," "Hillside Late-Afternoon," "Interior," loaned by Joseph C. Ely, Esq., "Jesus Led to the House of Caiaphas- A Sketch," loaned by Mrs. Walter Vincent, "Homeward," "A Concert," loaned by Hon. George M. Carpenter, "Landscape with Cattle," "On Palmer River," loaned by John Grimshaw, Esq., "Hauling Rails," loaned by artist, "Afternoon on the Seekonk," loaned by artist, "The Watering Place - Evening," loaned by artist, "Paradise," loaned by artist, "Sunset After a Storm," loaned by artist, "On Warwick Neck," loaned by artist, and "After the Battle - Evening," loaned by artist.

That same year The Boston Evening Transcript listed Christiana’s address as 48 Winter Street, Room 3, Boston. Edward exhibited “Christ Healing the Sick” as part of the formal opening of the Home for Aged Colored Women. The Manufacturers and Farmers Journal, on April 17, 1890  said that “Christ Healing the Sick” was one of several painting contributed to the shelter. It goes on to say that the painting, "as being singularly in consonance with the spirit of the beneficence itself. It was painted a score of years ago. Christ stands with hands spread over a sick man that has been brought to his feet, and at his left is a woman holding appealingly toward him her dead babe. Scoffing Sadducees are in the background, and a lame and feeble patriarch is being helped to the savior by a strong asrm." In October 1881, Edward exhibited “September on the Palmer River” at the Providence Art Institute and at the Detroit Arts Exhibit along with “Across the Marsh.” A Boston Art Club Exhibition included Bannister’s "Morning on the River, Providence, R.I"

The Summer Exhibition of the Providence Art Club in 1892 included Bannister’s "Load of Hay" owned by Dr. Harris; "City at Twilight" owned by Judge Carpenter; "Ulysses" owned by Judge Carpenter; "Dandelion Pickers" owned by Judge Carpenter; "Landscape with Brats;" "Stormcase and Figure" owned by S. A. Smith; "Cattle at Evening" owned by George Whitaker; "Cattle" owned by Eli; "Barringtown" owned by Eli; "Glenn" (black and white) owned by Eli; "Cattle" (black and white) owned by Eli; and "Oaks" also owned by Eli. The Boston Evening Transcript on November 21, 1891 claims that a section of the Providence Art Club recently opened offered the opportunity to view Bannister’s work collectively, “the old with the new, the historic alongside the landscapes that have taken all his latter attention.” Works mentioned in the article include “Jesus led to the House of Caiaphas” owned by Mrs. Walter Vincent; “A concert” owned by the Hon. George M. Carpenter;  and “Towboat in a Storm.”


Under Studio and Gallery notes in the December 1, 1892 Boston Evening Transcript says that “some of the pictures at Leonard’s on Thursday were as follows: “Under the Oaks” by E.M. Bannister for $475.00. That same paper on July 22, 1893 says that a large landscape by Edward, which was not finished in time for the World’s Fair, will be part of a summer loan exhibition by the Providence Art Club. The Evening Bulletin, on July 25, 1893 says this recently finished piece is called “Afternoon.” The article goes on to describe the painting. “In the foreground are cows feeding in the deep grass, and in the distance are towering trees. There is an admirable effect of cloudy sky.” Another painting by Edward on display is called “A Golden Afternoon.” On August 19, 1893, The Commercial Gazette in Cincinnati, in reporting on the Congress on Africa at the World's Fair, mentions that during the closing session a paper was delivered by professor Tanner titled, "The Negro as an Artist," where Tanner declares that E. M. Bannister was the "greatest living artist of his race." 


Edward was listed in the 1894 Providence City Directory as an artist at 19 College Street, Room 50. Edward was listed in the 1895 Providence City Directory as an artist at 19 College, room 50. Edward and Christiana are listed in the Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 190. Their address is 93 Benevolent Street. He is listed as an artist and Christiana is listed as a hair doctress. On page 119 Edward is listed as a member of the Providence Art Club. Sometime in 1895 Edward wrote to his friend George W. Whitaker "All I would do I cannot, that is all I would say in art, simply from the want of proper training. With God's help, however, I hope to be able to deliver the messages instructed to me.".


Edward is listed in the 1896 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 208. His address is 93 Benevolent Street. He is listed as an artist. Christiana is not listed at this address. On page 130 Edward is listed as a member of the Providence Art Club. His studio is listed on page 296 at Room 50, 19 College Street. The 100th Exhibition by the Providence Art Club on March 4, 1896 included Bannister’s "Summer Afternoon," for sale for $100; and "Evening" was listed as loaned.


Edward was listed in the 1897 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 242. His address was 93 Benevolent Street. Christiana is not listed. He is listed as an artist. Edward’s studio is also listed at Room 50, 19 College Street on page 333. On page 142 Edward was listed as a member of the Providence Art Club. Edward was also listed in the 1897 Providence City Directory as an artist at 93 Benevolent Street.


Edward and Christiana are listed in the 1898 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 250. Their address is 93 Benevolent Street. He is listed as an artist and Christiana is listed as a hair doctress. Edward’s studio is also listed at Room 47, 19 College Street on page 342. On page 136 Edward is listed as a member of the Providence Art Club. The Annual Exhibition of the Providence Art Club on January 3, 1898 included Bannister’s "Summer Afternoon," for sale for $150; and "Canton Marshes" also for sale for $20. The Providence Journal in July stated that Bannister had moved to Boston and was opening a studio at 47 Woods Building.


Edward is listed in the 1899 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book page 7 as an artist member of the Providence Art Club. Edward exhibited “A Hillside Pasture” at the Providence Art Club spring show. In the catalogue, he lists his address as 381 Northampton Street in Boston. He is also listed as a Massachusetts artist in the 1899 Providence Art Club’s 127th exhibition.


Edward and Cristiana were listed in the 1900 Providence U.S. Census. They were living at 60 Wilson Street, owned by John C. Budlong. He was born in November of 1827, and Christiana in April, 1826. They had been married for 40 years. Edward was born in Canada; both his parents were born in Barbados. Christiana and both her parents were born in Rhode Island. He was an artist and she was a lady’s hairdresser. He is listed as an alien under the citizenship column. Edward and Christiana are listed in the 1900 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 867. Their address is 60 Wilson Street. He is listed as an artist and Christiana is listed as a hair doctress. On page 122 Edward is listed as a member of the Providence Art Club.


Edward died from a heart attack at the Elmwood Street Baptist Church in 1901. The Bannister Memorial Committee included John N. Arnold, Robert P. Brown, Isaac C. Bates, Sydney R. Burleigh, Hugo Bruel, George A. Buffum, Hippolyte L. Hubert, Edward C. Leavitt, John C. Peagram, and George W. Whitaker. The subcommittee to collect and hang pictures at Edward's memorial were John N. Arnold, Robert P. Brown,  Hugo Bruel, and George W. Whitaker. Christiana is listed in the 1901 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book on page 895. Her address is 60 Wilson Street. She is listed as a hair doctress and widow. On December 21, 1902 Christiana died. Her estate administrator, Melvenia Babcock, Christiana’s niece, lists household furniture and pictures in the estate’s inventory.